Iraq: Do not negotiate on hostages
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Baghdad has urged governments not to negotiate with hostage takers amid uncertainty over whether Manila is going to withdraw its troops earlier than planned.
Militants holding a Filipino in Iraq have said they will release him on Tuesday, according to a diplomatic source in Baghdad.
The news came moments after the Philippine government said it would withdraw its 50-member humanitarian force from Iraq "as soon as possible" to save the life of Angelo de la Cruz, a 46-year-old father of eight.
The statement was made by the Philippines deputy foreign minister Rafael Seguis on the Arabic-language Al-Jazeera network.
The Philippine force is due to depart on August 20 and Seguis did not announce a new departure date.
But the abductors have demanded that the Philippine troops leave Iraq by July 20.
Most governments have said that although they talk with militants, no ransoms have been paid or demands met.
A senior U.S. administration official has said the White House had no official notice that the Philippines would pull its troops early and Manila has remained quiet so far on the issue.
U.S. officials have stressed the importance of countries with hostages in Iraq not giving in to terrorists.
Vice President Dick Cheney said so repeatedly in April when visiting Tokyo while Japanese civilians were being held in Iraq.
And speaking to reporters at the NATO summit in Istanbul last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said it was a mistake for countries to give in to the demands of the kidnappers.
"It is not wise to allow yourself to be terrorized. It's not wise to acquiesce, to threats and bullying, and intimidation. Once you start down that road, it's a dead end."
At the time Rumsfeld praised both Japan and South Korea for not giving in to terrorist demands after some of its citizens were kidnapped in Iraq, and criticized Spain for its decision to withdraw its troops from Iraq after a deadly train bombing in Madrid.
"Their goal is to terrorize people and alter their behavior, try to do what they did in Spain, which is change an outcome of something. Fortunately, as this has happened we've seen country after country stand up and say they are not going to be dissuaded." Rumsfeld said.
'Pleading for release'
"In the name of the Filipino people and the name of humanity and the family of de la Cruz and his eight children, the government of the Philippines is pleading for his release," Seguis told the Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera.
The hostage-takers -- who have identified themselves as members of the Khaled Bin Al-Walid Squadrons, part of the Islamic Army of Iraq -- have issued several deadlines, only to change them.
Earlier Monday, Al-Jazeera reported that the group said it had taken de la Cruz to the place where his "punishment" would be meted out.
"They offered him food and water," the network reported.
"The hostage asked that his corpse be handed to his government, and he asked for one more day to allow him the chance of sending one last message to his president. The [kidnappers'] statement continued that the Islamic Army did its best to prove to the world it did everything it could to keep the hostage alive."
Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Delia Albert said Sunday that her government would not comply with the kidnappers' demand, a decision announced after a five-hour Cabinet meeting.
Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said Sunday it had information indicating two of its citizens being held hostage in Iraq were alive, though a reported deadline set by the kidnappers had passed.
The ministry identified the hostages as Ivailo Kepov and Georgi Lazov, and said they are truckers.
I hope this is not a trend...giving in to terrorists. :stone